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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Maccabees 3, 1-9

His son, Judas, known as Maccabaeus, then took his place.

All his brothers, and all who had attached themselves to his father, supported him, and they fought for Israel with a will.

He extended the fame of his people. Like a giant, he put on the breastplate and buckled on his war harness; he engaged in battle after battle, protecting the ranks with his sword.

He was like a lion in his exploits, like a young lion roaring over its prey.

He pursued and tracked down the renegades, he consigned those who troubled his people to the flames.

The renegades quailed with the terror he inspired, all evil-doers were utterly confounded, and deliverance went forward under his leadership.

He brought bitterness to many a king and rejoicing to Jacob by his deeds, his memory is blessed for ever and ever.

He went through the towns of Judah eliminating the irreligious from them, and diverted the Retribution from Israel.

His name resounded to the ends of the earth, he rallied those who were on the point of perishing.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Judas takes command of the army immediately after the death of his father Mattathias and, with the help of his brothers, gets ready to take up arms on a larger scale: his objective is to battle against Hellenism and foreign domination. The author highlights that Judas and his supporters perform this task with enthusiasm. This was the logical consequence of those who knew they were struggling for a worthy cause, like taking back their land so that the entire people could live freely and fully the covenant with God. They were profoundly aware that they were sons and daughters of the only one God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth and they were distinct from other peoples with no possible confusion. The irrevocable paradox of their identity that needed to be lived and defended was very obviously clear to them. The covenant with God was the very reason for their life, also their strength. This people, unique among the neighbouring peoples, drew their strength from God’s name. Through the hymn to Judas, the sacred author seeks to describe the strength of the entire people of believers. Judas is presented as a giant who moves with surety in his battle armour; he looks like a lion “in his deeds,” and “like a lion’s cub roaring for prey.” The text refers back to the description of Judas, son of Jacob that we read in Genesis: “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion, like a lioness—who dares rouse him up?” (Gen 49:9). Then, as with few and efficient brushstrokes, the author sums up his action: he chases out the traitors of the faith of Israel, defeated those who troubled the people and “burned those who troubled his people.” The author adds that “he embittered many kings”: not only the three kings that succeeded on the Seleucid thrones during Judas’ six years of reign but also the small heads of the tribes of Idumea and Transjordan. If Judas embittered his enemies, instead he allowed all of the twelve tribes of Israel indicated with the name of their chief, Jacob, to rejoice. He succeeded in assembling all of the dispersed. The Israelites, who before and at the beginning of the Maccabean revival felt as if they were lost and having no other choice but to find refuge in desert caves without a leader, now finally could gather together and live in peace through the protection and leadership of Judas.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday